New Plymouth is often over-looked by domestic and international tourists, perhaps because of its remote south-western location. For sure the town is stuck out on a limb and the black-sand beaches and industrial sea-front can put some newcomers off, but there is a lot more to this quintessential Kiwi town than meets the eye.
For a start the town beaches and the numerous points around the cape offer some of the best, and most consistent, surf that New Zealand has to offer. Surfers are generally pretty good at finding the sweet spots, though the pounding West coast surf is probably not the best place for newbies.
More of a surprise is the vibrant arts-scene in the town, symbolised by the fabulous Govett-Brewster Art Gallery. Not only does the gallery exhibit many of New Zealand’s finest contemporary artists but it also plays host to the Len Lye Foundation. Len Lye – one of New Zealand’s most treasured modernist artists – produced some extraordinary film, poetry and artworks in the twentieth century, much of which is now housed in the Govett-Brewster.
Len’s work can also be found in some the most prestigious museums and galleries around the world, so it’s a real treat to visit the gallery that was such an important part of his life and career – and is now an important part of New Zealand’s art history.
The gallery is free to enter and is a fantastic reminder that art is for everyone not just the rich and famous.
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Editorial by Jooles Clements